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Dual Degree Project

INVESTIGATIONS ON A THERMOACOUSTIC REFRIGERATOR

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degrees of

Bachelor of Technology & Master of Technology

by

Ram Chandrashekhar Dhuley

Roll No. 05D1----

Supervisor

Prof. M. D. Atrey

Dhuley Roll No. 05D1 ---- Supervisor Prof. M. D. Atrey Department of Mechanical Engineering Indian Institute

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay Powai, Mumbai 400076

2010

ABSTRACT

Thermoacoustic Refrigerators use acoustic power for generating cold temperatures. Development of refrigerators based on thermoacoustic technology is a novel solution to the present day need of cooling, without causing environmental hazards. With added advantages like minimal moving parts and absence of CFC refrigerants, these devices can attain very low temperatures maintaining a compact size. The present work describes an in-depth theoretical analysis of standing wave thermoacoustic refrigerators. This consists of detailed parametric studies, transient state analysis and a design using available simulation software. Design and construction of a thermoacoustic refrigerator using a commercially available electro-dynamic motor is also presented.

CONTENTS

LIST OF FIGURES

iv

LIST OF TABLES

vii

NOMENCLATURE

viii

1 INTRODUCTION

1

1.1 Thermoacoustics

1

1.2 Thermoacoustic Refrigerators

1

1.3 Objectives of present work

2

2 LITERATURE REVIEW

3

2.1 Introduction

3

2.2 Thermoacoustic Oscillations

3

2.3 Thermoacoustic Heat Pumping

5

2.4 Linear Thermoacoustic Theory

7

 

2.4.1 Analysis of a Single Plate

7

2.4.2 Analysis of Stack of Parallel Plates

10

2.4.3 The Boundary Layer Approximation

12

2.4.4 Arbitrary Stack Geometry

13

2.5 Thermoacoustic Refrigerators (TAR)

14

 

2.5.1 Theoretical Models

14

2.5.2 Experimental Work

17

2.6 Summary

18

3 THEORETICAL ANALYSIS OF A STANDING WAVE TAR

19

3.1

Introduction

19

i

3.2

Loudspeaker Driven Gas Columns

19

 

3.2.1 The Impedance Transfer Technique

20

3.2.2 Electrical Network Model of a Moving Coil Loudspeaker

21

3.2.3 Dynamic Pressure in a Loudspeaker Driven Gas Column

21

3.3 DELTAEC Model

22

3.4 Transient State Model of a Standing Wave TAR

23

3.4.1 Geometry

23

3.4.2 Assumptions

24

3.4.3 Governing Equations

24

3.4.4 Computational Domain and Boundary Conditions

26

3.4.5 Solution Methodology

26

3.5 Operating Parameters and Working Gas

28

3.5.1 Operating Parameters

28

3.5.2 Working Gas

29

3.5.3 Stack Material

30

3.5.4 Design Choices

30

3.6 Geometric Dimensions

30

3.6.1 Resonators for Dynamic Pressure Measurements

30

3.6.2 Resonator of TAR

31

3.6.3 Stack

31

4

FABRICATION AND EXPERIMENTAL SETUP

32

4.1 Introduction

32

4.2 Acoustic Driver

32

4.2.1 Fabrication

33

4.2.2 Assembly

38

4.3 Resonators for Dynamic Pressure Measurement

39

ii

4.4

Refrigeration Assembly

39

 

4.4.1 Fabrication

41

4.4.2 Assembly

47

4.5

Experimental Setup and Instrumentation

48

5 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

50

5.1 Introduction

 

50

5.2 Theoretical Results of the Transient State Model

50

 

5.2.1 Comparison with Numerical Integration

50

5.2.2 Transient Temperature Profiles

52

5.2.3 Cooldown Curve

56

5.2.4 Cooldown

Characteristics of Working Gases

57

5.3 Dynamic Pressure Measurement s

60

 

5.3.1 Driver Parameter

60

5.3.2 Resonance Frequency of Half Wave Resonators

61

5.3.3 Effect of Operating Frequency on Dynamic Pressure

61

5.3.4 Effect of Charging Pressure and Working Gas on Dynamic Pressure

62

5.3.5 Non-Linear Effects

63

5.4 Experimental Results

 

65

6 CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE SCOPE

70

6.1 Conclusions

 

70

6.2 Future Work

71

REFERENCES

PUBLICATIONS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

iii

LIST OF FIGURES

PAGE

1.1

Schematic of a Thermoacoustic Refrigerator

1

2.1

Configurations for study of thermoacoustic oscillations

3

2.2

Production of pressure oscillations is a hollow pipe by means of heat

4

2.3

Thermoacoustic heat pumping

6

2.4

A solid plate kept in an acoustic field

7

2.5

The real and imaginary

parts of T 1 (y)

9

2.6

A stack of parallel plates

10

2.7

Various pore geometries studied by Arnott et.al

13

2.8

The hexagonal unit cell of a pin array stack

13

2.9

Real and imaginary parts of Rott’s Function for various pore geometries

14

3.1

Electrical circuit representation of a loudspeaker with an acoustic load

21

3.2

Schematic of a resonator with a non-uniform cross section

22

3.3

Schematic of the geometry for Transient State Analysis

24

3.4

Heat flowing in and out of a cell of ‘stack’ region

26

3.5

Grid representation of computational domain

27

4.1

Schematic of the acoustic driver assembly showing various components

32

4.2

Ferrite disc magnet and soft iron pole pieces

33

4.3

The voice coils used for present work

34

4.4

Schematics of Supporting Rings

35

4.5

Schematic of the Mounting Flange

36

iv

4.6

Schematic of the Back Jacket

37

4.7

Attachment of voice coil to the suspension

38

4.8

Suspending the voice coil in the magnetic gap

39

4.9

Schematic of the refrigeration assembly showing various components

40

4.10

Stack manufacturing process: Wooden plank with slits on the edges

41

4.11

Schematic of the Stack Holder

42

4.12

Schematics of Heat Exchangers

43

4.13

Schematic of the resonator Tube

44

4.14

Schematic of the conical buffer volume and the connecting flange

45

4.15

Schematic of the warm HX mounting flange

46

4.16

Schematic of vacuum jacket mounting flange

47

4.17

The TAR assembly ready for operation

48

4.18

Schematic of the experimental setup and allied instrumentation

49

4.19

Experimental setup in operation

49

5.1

Comparison of FDM and Numerical Integration results

51

5.2

Transient temperature profiles from time t=30 s to t=120 s

53

5.3

Transient temperature profiles from time t=240 s to t=960 s

53

5.4

Transient temperature profiles from time t=2400 s to t=9600 s

54

5.5

Transient temperature profiles from time t=10800 s to t=21600 s

55

5.6

Temperature profile at t=36000 s

56

5.7

Cooldown curve for cold HX

56

5.8

Variation of cold HX temperature for different gases

58

5.9

Variation of current with operating frequency

61

5.10

The dynamic pressure in a resonator as a function of operating frequency

for Helium and Nitrogen

62

v

5.11

The dynamic pressure for different charging pressures of Helium and Nitrogen

63

5.12 The waveforms observed on oscilloscope representing dynamic pressure in

Nitrogen resonator at different voltage levels

64

5.13 Cooldown curves for different charging pressures

65

5.14 Dynamic pressure during cooldown measurements

66

5.15 Cold end temperature and temperature lift for various charging pressures

67

5.16 Response of cold end temperature to heat load: DeltaEC model of Hofler’s

TAR

68

vi

LIST OF TABLES

PAGE

2.1

Operating, design parameters and material properties (Herman et.al)

14

2.2

Hofler’s operating parameters and stack dimensions

17

2.3

Tijani’s operating parameters and stack dimensions

17

2.4

Performance of thermoacoustic refrigerators

18

3.1

Operating parameters, working was and stack material properties

30

3.2

Dimensions of TAR resonator

31

5.1

Operating parameters and dimensions of various components

52

5.2

Properties of gases at 308 K, 10 bar

60

5.3

Driver parameters

60

vii

NOMENCLATURE

Symbol

Meaning (SI Unit)

p

pressure (N m -2 )

T

temperature (K)

f

frequency (Hz)

ρ

density (kg m -3 )

a

sound speed (m s -1 )

λ

wavelength (m)

k

wave number (m -1 )

ω

angular frequency (rad s -1 )

γ

ratio of specific heats

δ k

thermal penetration depth of gas(m)

δ

s

thermal penetration depth of plate (m)

δ

v

viscousl penetration depth of gas(m)

β

thermal expansion coefficient (k -1 )

k

thermal conductivity (W m -1 k -1 )

C p

isobaric specific heat (J kg -1 k -1 )

Γ

normalized temperature gradient

f

Rott’s function

s

specific entropy (J kg -1 k -1 )

Q

c

cooling power (W)

W acoustic power (W)

COP

coefficient of performance

L

length of resonator (m)

L s

length of stack (m)

ε s

Thermal Effusivity

l

half plate thickness (m)

y 0

half plate

spacing (m)

П

wetted perimeter (m)

x s

stack centre position (m)

x

Local x-coordinate (m)

A

Area of cross section (m 2 )

Subscripts

m

mean

a

amplitude

1

local amplitude

s

Solid (plate)

n

normalized

r, res

resonator

Other Symbols

~ Complex Conjugate

Re[ ]

Real Part of [ ]

Im[ ]

Imaginary Part of [ ]

Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Thermoacoustics

Thermoacoustics is the interaction between heat and sound. It explains how energy in form of heat can be converted to sound or how sound waves can be used to generate cold temperatures. The pressure and displacement oscillations in a sound wave are accompanied by temperature oscillations. For an adiabatic sound wave propagating through an ideal gas, the temperature oscillations, T 1 are related to the pressure oscillations p 1 , [1] as:

T

1

γ

1

p

1

=

T

m

γ

p

m

(1.1)

where T m and p m respectively, are the mean temperature and pressure of the medium, and γ is the specific heat capacity ratio. In medium like air at STP and pressure amplitude of ordinary conversation (~ 60 dB), the magnitude of temperature oscillations is about 10 -4 o C and go undetected by human senses [1]. Working at high pressure amplitudes, the thermal interaction of sound waves with a different medium, a solid for instance can result into sufficiently large amount of heat exchange between the fluid and the solid.

1.2 Thermoacoustic Refrigerator (TAR)

A thermoacoustic refrigerator pumps heat from low temperature to high temperature region using energy of sound waves. Schematic of a thermoacoustic refrigerator is shown in Figure 1.1.

of a thermoacoustic refrigerator is shown in Figure 1.1. Figure 1.1 Schematic of a thermoacoustic refrigerator.

Figure 1.1 Schematic of a thermoacoustic refrigerator.

1

The source of acoustic energy is called ‘acoustic driver’ which can be a loudspeaker. The acoustic driver emits sound waves in a long hollow tube filled with gas at high pressure. This long hollow tube is called ‘resonance tube’ or simply ‘resonator’. The frequency of the driver and the length of the resonator are chosen so as to get a standing pressure wave in the resonator. A solid porous material like a stack of solid plates is kept in the path of sound waves in the resonator.

Due to thermoacoustic effect (explained in detail in section 2.2), heat starts to flow from one end of stack to the other. One end starts to heat up while other starts to cool down. By controlling temperature of hot side of stack (by removing heat by means of a heat exchanger), the cold end of stack can be made to cool down to lower and lower temperatures. A refrigeration load can then be applied at the cold end by means of a heat exchanger.

‘Thermoacoustics’ is a ‘green’ and a new technology. The working medium of TAR is an inert gas. There is no need of conventional refrigerants like CFCs that pose hazards to the environment. TAR has minimal moving parts and no valves to regulate fluid flow. Once designed efficiently, they require very less maintenance. Because of use of acoustic power, the pressure difference between which a TAR operates is very small. This means TAR can find immense application where noise or vibration can’t be tolerated. Besides this, they have no close tolerances and can be fabricated from easily available materials.

1.3 Objectives of present work

The aim of present work is “To design and develop a Standing Wave TAR driven by a loudspeaker, capable of cooling to a temperature near 250 K”.

The principal objectives of the project are as stated under:

1) To theoretically investigate the effect of different operating parameters and working gas on TAR performance, so as to come up with a suitable TAR design.

2) To develop a TAR setup driven by an available electro-dynamic loudspeaker motor. This involves suitable modifications of the motor, design and fabrication of various TAR components, assembly and experimental investigations.

2

Chapter 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

The two well known thermoacoustic effects- thermoacoustic pressure wave generation and

thermoacoustic heat pumping are very well explained by the classical Linear Theory of

Thermoacoustics [2]. The Linear Theory has also been successfully implemented in

development of practical prime movers and refrigerators. This chapter begins by giving a

brief insight to the above mentioned thermoacoustic effects. It then explains the Linear

Thermoacoustic Theory of Thermoacoustics in detail. The chapter also presents important

theoretical and experimental advances in the field of Thermoacoustic Refrigeration.

2.2 Thermoacoustic Oscillations

The study of thermoacoustic oscillations has a rich and interesting history. Bryon Higgins

[1,3] (1777) made the first observations of thermoacoustic oscillations. A organ pipe open at

both ends started to emit sound when it was heated at certain locations along its length.

Sondhauss [3] (1850) made experimental investigations of heat generated sound when

blowing a hot glass bulb at the end of a cold glass tube. Rijke [3] (1859) found that strong

sound oscillations can be generated in an open ended hollow tube by keeping a heated wire-

mesh screen at a quarter length distance from open end. The experimental configurations for

study of thermoacoustic oscillations are shown in Figure 2.1.

of thermoacoustic oscillations are shown in Figure 2.1. a) Higgins Tube b) Rijke tube c) Sondhauss

a) Higgins Tube

oscillations are shown in Figure 2.1. a) Higgins Tube b) Rijke tube c) Sondhauss tube Figure

b) Rijke tube

are shown in Figure 2.1. a) Higgins Tube b) Rijke tube c) Sondhauss tube Figure 2.1

c) Sondhauss tube

Figure 2.1 Configurations for study of thermoacoustic oscillations [3]

3

Theoretical study of thermoacoustic oscillations began in 1868 when Kirchoff [1] calculated

acoustic attenuation in a duct due to oscillatory heat transfer between solid isothermal duct

wall and the gas sustaining the sound wave. The first thorough qualitative description of

thermoacoustic oscillations was given by Lord Rayleigh. In his work, “The Theory of Sound”

[3] (1877), he stated:

“If heat be given to air at the moment of greatest condensation or taken

from it at the moment of greatest rarefaction, the vibration is encouraged.”

Yet another type of oscillations was observed by Taconis [3]. When one end of a hollow pipe

was dipped in liquid nitrogen and taken out, other end being held at ambient, the pipe began

to “sing”. Sound was emitted continuously till the temperature of cold end became

sufficiently high.

The generation of sound wave due to temperature difference across a hollow pipe can be

understood from Figure 2.2. The kinetic energy of the gas near the heated area is much more

than that of the gas far away in the pipe. The hot gas molecules accelerate towards the cooler

end of the tube (Figure 2.2a), thereby creating an area of relative low pressure at the heated

end. The cooler other gas molecules accelerate towards the hot end to fill the area of low

pressure (Figure 2.2b). These molecules are then heated, and the cycle continues (Figure

2.2c). The result is a series of longitudinal air pressure oscillations. By choosing proper heat

rate, heating location and length of the pipe, strong pressure oscillations can be generated.

of the pipe, strong pressure oscillations can be generated. (a) (b) (c) Figure 2.2 Production of

(a)

(b)

(c)

Figure 2.2 Production of pressure oscillations in a hollow pipe by means of heat.

4

2.3 Thermoacoustic Heat Pumping

Although the production of sound or pressure pulses by application of heat has been a subject of study over last two centuries, the reverse phenomenon i.e achieving heat transport by means of interaction of an acoustic field with a solid medium is more recent. Heat transport process at inner wall of a hollow tube enclosing an acoustic field was demonstrated by Gifford and Longsworth [4] (1966) in their device called the “Pulse Tube”. This “Basic Pulse Tube” is the precursor of widely studied modern day Pulse Tube Cryocoolers. Theoretical study of heating at the closed end of a hollow tube in which small gas oscillations were maintained, was done by Rott [2] (1984). It was based on linear theory of acoustic oscillations. The in-depth study of thermoacoustic heat pumping process was started at The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in America by The Condensed Matter and Thermal Physics Group in 1980s.

The formation of temperature gradient due to acoustic oscillations along the length of a plate can be understood from Figure 2.3 [1,4]. Consider a solid plate placed in an acoustic field with direction of particle oscillation along its length. Suppose the pressure antinode (region of maximum pressure variation) is near the left end of the plate and the pressure node (region of zero pressure variation) is near the right end of the plate. The mean temperature of the plate as well as the gas is T m and mean pressure of the gas is p m . A typical gas parcel oscillates over a distance 2x 1 about its mean position. Its pressure varies between p m – p 1 and p m + p 1 . The activity of a typical gas parcel is shown below in Figure 2.3 (a-d).

a)

p m – p 1 and p m + p 1 . The activity of a

5

b)

c)

d)

b) c) d) Figure 2.3 Thermoacoustic heat pumping process. Referring to Figure 2.3(a), the gas parcel
b) c) d) Figure 2.3 Thermoacoustic heat pumping process. Referring to Figure 2.3(a), the gas parcel

Figure 2.3 Thermoacoustic heat pumping process.

Referring to Figure 2.3(a), the gas parcel at the right end absorbs acoustic power and moves by a distance ‘2x1’ to the left. During this displacement it gets compressed and its temperature rises. This parcel then loses heat to the plate till its temperature equals that of the plate (Figure 2.3(b)). As a result left end of the plate becomes a little warmer. The parcel then moves again to right end where its pressure as well temperature falls (Figure 2.3(c)). The cold parcel warms up by picking heat from right end of the plate, making the right end of the plate colder (Figure 2.3(d)). Thus, in one cycle the gas transports ‘dQ’ amount of heat over a temperature difference of ‘2x 1 T m ’, absorbing ‘dW` - dW’ amount of acoustic power. Eventually, the left end of stack heats up and the right end cools down.

6

2.4 The Linear Theory of Thermoacoustics

The Linear Theory of Thermoacoustics was developed by Rott [2]. It was later reviewed by

Swift [1,4] who also extended it to the non-ideal cases of practical thermoacoustic prime

movers and refrigerators. This section presents the theory given by Rott and Swift.

2.4.1 Analysis of a Single Plate

As mentioned in Chapter 1, temperature oscillations accompany pressure oscillations in an

adiabatic acoustic field. Consider a solid plate kept in a fluid (a gas in general), aligned

parallel to the direction of vibration of the standing wave as shown in Figure 2.4. Due to

solid-fluid interaction, two phenomena occur:

1) a time averaged heat flux near the surface along the direction of acoustic vibration

2) absorption or generation of real acoustic power near the surface of the plate.

Suppose the length of the plate is x, width is Π/2 and the thickness is very small. The

acoustic field vibrates along x and the local pressure and velocity of oscillation at any position

x are respectively given by,

p

1

u =i

1

= p

p

a

a

ρ

m

a

sin(

kx

)

cos(

kx

)

(2.1)

(2.2)

where ‘i’ represents 90 0 phase difference between pressure and velocity oscillations due to

standing wave phasing. The mean temperature of the plate as well as the fluid is T m .

temperature of the plate as well as the fluid is T m . Figure 2.4 A

Figure 2.4 A solid plate kept in an acoustic field. The length of plate is x along x, Π/2 along z and negligible along y axis. (Reproduced from [1])

7

Following assumptions are made in the analysis:

1) The length of the plate is very small as compared to the wavelength of the acoustic

field (x<<λ) so that the pressure and velocity oscillations over the entire plate can be

assumed to be uniform.

2) The thermal properties of gas as well as the plate do not vary with temperature.

3) The fluid is non-viscous so that the viscous boundary layer is absent and oscillatory

velocity does not vary along y direction.

4) Heat capacity of the plate is very large as compared to the gas so that the gas at

plate surface behaves isothermally (temperature oscillations of the gas very near to the

plate are zero).

5) Heat conduction by solid as well as gas along x direction is neglected.

6) A uniform temperature T m exists along the plate in x direction.

The equation governing the energy flow through the fluid is the general equation of heat

transfer given by:

v

(2.3)

T

ρ

s  

t

+

.

s

 

= ∇

.(

k

T

)

Writing eqn(2.3) in terms of oscillatory quantities s 1 and T 1 (the entropy and temperature

oscillations repectively),

(2.4)

s

1

x

2

T

1

)

ρ

m

T

m

(

i

ω

s

1

+

u

m

)

=

(

k

y

2

where u 1 is the oscillatory velocity in x-direction.

Substituting the oscillating entropy in terms of oscillating pressure p 1 , and oscillating

temperature T 1 as:

(2.5)

c

p

T

m

T

1

β

ρ

m

p

1

s

1

=

a second order differential equation in T 1 is obtained as given below:

i

c T

ω

p

1

k

2

d T

1

dy

2

=

i

T

ω

m

β

p

1

ρ

m

c

p

T u

m

1

(2.6)

Here, ω is the frequency of oscillations while β is the thermal expansion coeffieicnt of the gas.

With an isothermal boundary condition at the plate (y=0) and finite value of temperature

oscillation at very large distance from plate (y= ), the expression for temperature oscillations

can be found out as:

(2.7)

=


 

T

m

β

ρ

m

c

p

p

1

T

m

u

1

ω

(1

T

1

e

(1

+ i

)

y

/

δ

k

)

8

where

δ

k

=   

2 K

ρ

m

c

p

ω

   

1/2

(2.8)

is the ‘thermal penetration depth’ of the gas and is defined as the length of gas through which heat diffuses in time 1/ω. The first term in T 1 is due to the adiabatic compression and expansion in the fluid (as would exist if there was no plate) and the second comes into being because of the temperature gradient along the plate. At a certain value of T m , the temperature oscillations vanish for all y. This value is called as the ‘critical temperature gradient’ and is given by,

=

(2.9)

T

m

βω

p

1

T

crit

ρ m

c u

p

1

The expressions for the heat flux per unit area and acoustic power absorbed/produced per unit volume or fluid surrounding the plate are given respectively by,

(2.10)

1 Im[

2

q

2

=

ρ

m

c

p

T

1

]

u

1

w

2

= −

1

2

ωβ p

1

Im[

T

1

]

(2.11)

Both the quantities depend on imaginary part of T 1 . As can be seen from Figure 2.5, the imaginary part of T 1 starts from zero at y=0, becomes maximum at y~δ k and again vanishes for y>> δ k . That is to say, the heat flux and the acoustic power absorbed/generated are predominant in the region y~δ k from the plate surface. Both vanish at distances very close and very far from the plate.

vanish at distances very close and very far from the plate. Figure 2.5 The real and

Figure 2.5 The real and imaginary parts of T 1 (y). (Reproduced from [1])

The total heat flux and the acoustic power absorbed/generated can be found by integrating eqns. (2.10) and (2.11) in whole of the region surrounding the plate. They are given by,

Q

1

= −

2 4

δ T β p u

k

m

1

9

1

(

Γ −

1)

(2.12)

W

2

=

1

4

δ

k

x

T

m

2

β ω

ρ

m

c

p

p

1

2

(

Γ −

1)

(2.13)

where Γ is the ratio of actual temperature gradient to the critical temperature gradient. An

important point is to be noted here. When Γ <1 (a small temperature gradient along the plate

which is less than the critical temperature gradient), the expression of W 2 has a negative sign

indicating that acoustic power is being absorbed near the plate. In this case, Q 2 is positive i.e

heat is being transported from pressure node to pressure antinode (heat pumping). On the

other hand, when there is a large temperature gradient along the plate ( Γ >1), heat flows from

pressure antinode to pressure node and acoustic power is produced. In a very special case

when Γ =1, no power is absorbed or produced and the heat flux is zero. Hence, three modes

of operation can be classified:

1) Γ <1 : Heat pump or refrigerator (acoustic power getting absorbed)

2) Γ >1 : Prime mover (acoustic power getting generated)

3) Γ =1 : No practical significance (acoustic power is zero)

2.4.2 Analysis of a Stack of Parallel Plates

In this section, the analysis of a single plate is extended to a stack of parallel plates as shown

in Figure 2.6. The fluid is assumed to have arbitrary viscosity with Prandtl number σ, and the

fluid and solid plates respectively have thermal conductivities K and K s . Thus, this analysis

brings the Linear Theory of Thermoacoustics closer to real refrigerators and prime movers.

closer to real refrigerators and prime movers. Figure 2.6 A stack of parallel plates. Each plate

Figure 2.6 A stack of parallel plates. Each plate has a thickness 2l and spacing between plates is 2y 0. (Reproduced from [1])

The solid plates have a thickness 2l and spacing between plates is 2y 0 . The stack is oriented in

the direction of acoustic oscillations x. The equations governing the analysis are the

continuity equation:

(2.14)

ρ + ∇ ⋅

t

(

v)

ρ

=

0

10

the momentum equation:

ρ

v  

t

+

(

v

⋅∇

)

v

 

= −∇

p

+

µ

2

v

and the energy equations for the fluid and the plate:

T

ρ

(

s

t

+

v

ρ

s

c

s

⋅∇

s

T

s

t

)

= ∇⋅

=

k

s

(

2

k

T

s

T

)

(2.15)

(2.16)

(2.17)

The time dependent variables appearing in the above equations can be written as:

v

=

p

=

ρ = ρ

m

ˆ

xu

1

(

x

,

T

T

s

=

=

T

m

T

m

s

=

s

m

p

m

(

x

)

+

p

1

(

x e

)

i

t

ω

+ ρ

1

(

x

,

y e

)

i

t

ω

y e

)

(

(

x

x

)

)

(

x

)

i

t

ω

+

+

+

+ ˆ

yv

T

1

(

x

,

T

s 1

(

x

s

1

(

x

,

1

,

(

x

,

y e

)

y e

)

i

t

ω

y e

)

i

t

ω

y e

)

i

t

ω

i

t

ω

(2.18)

(2.19)

(2.20)

(2.21)

(2.22)

(2.23)

Substituting these expressions into the governing equations and integrating the resulting

expressions in the stack region yields the Thermoacoustic wave equation:

1 +

(

γ

1) f

k

1

+

ε

s

p

1

+

ρ

ma

2

d

1

f

v

dp

1

2

ω

 

dx

ρ

m

dx

 

2

 

f

k

f

v

 

dT

m

dp

 

β

a

1

 

2

(1

   

)

dx

dx

 

ω

σ

)(1

+

ε

s

=

0

(2.24)

and the equation of energy flux through stack cross section:

H

2

=

y

0

2

ωρ

m

Im

dp

1

dx

×

Im

p

1

f

v

1

f

T

m

β

(

f

k

f

v

)





 

)

+

(

f

k

v

(1

+

f

v

)(1

ε

s

)(1

+

σ

)

+

ε

s

f

v

/

f

k

(1

+

ε

s

)(1

+

σ

)

+

y c

0

p

dT

m

dp

1

dp

1

2

3

ω ρ

m

(1

σ

)

dx

dx

dx

− ∏

(

y k

0

+

lk

s

)

dT

m

dx

where f k and f v are the Rott’s functions for temperature

and viscosity given by:

f

k

f

v

=

=

tanh[(1

+ i

)

y

0

/

δ

k

]

(1

)

+ i

y

+ i

tanh[(1

0

)

/

y

δ

k

0

/

δ

v

]

(1

+ i

)

y

0

/

δ

v

11

(2.25)

(2.26)

(2.27)

and ε s is the heat capacity ratio of the fluid-solid system,

ε

s

=

ρ

m

c

p

δ

k

tanh[(1

+ i

)

y

0

/

δ

k

]

ρ

s

c

s

δ

s

tanh[(1

+ i

)

y

0

/

δ

s

]

(2.28)

Due to viscosity of the gas, the viscous penetration depth comes into picture. It is the distance

from plate surface in which the viscous effects are predominant. The viscous penetration

depth is given by,

(2.29)

δ

v

=

2 µ ρ ω m
2
µ
ρ ω
m

2.4.3 The Boundary Layer Approximation

The boundary layer approximation [1,4] states that the half plate spacing is large as compared

to the thermal penetration depth of the gas (y 0 >>δ k ) and the half plate thickness is large as

compared to the thermal penetration depth of the solid plate (l>>δ s ). The use of this

approximation is to set the hyperbolic tangents appearing in eqns. (2.26-2.28) equal to one

which simplifies the thermoacoustic wave and energy flux equation to a great extent. These

equations with boundary layer approximation are given by: 2 ρ a d  1 −
equations with boundary layer approximation are given by:
2
ρ
a
d
 1 −
f
dp
(
γ
1)
δ
p
Γ
m
v
1
k
1
+
=
− 1
p 1
w
dx
ρ
dx
(1
+
i
)(1
+
ε
)
y
(1
+
σ
)(1
− f
)
2
m
s
0
  
v
1
T
β
p u
m
1
1
H
= −
δ
k
2
2
2 4
(1
+
ε
)(1
+
σ
)(1
δ
/
y
+
δ
/ 2
y
)
s
v
0
v
0
1 +
σ
+
σ
+
σε
dT
s
(
σ
δ
m
× Γ
[
1
+
/
y
0 )
]
−∏
(
y k
+
lk
s )
v
0
1 +
σ
dx

(2.30)

(2.31)

The first term in eqn. (2.30) is the hydrodynamic flow of heat due to the thermoacoustic effect

while the second term accounts for the heat flow along the stack due to conduction in gas and

solid. The net acoustic power absorbed/generated in the stack with the boundary layer

approximation is given by:

W

2

=

x

(

γ

1)

ω

p

1

2

×

 

Γ

δ

ρ

m

x

2

a

(1

+

ε

s

)

ωρ

m

u

(1

2

1

+

σ
σ

)(1

δ

v

/

y

0

+

δ

v

2

/ 2

y

0

2

)

v

(1

δ

v

/

 

δ

v

2

/ 2

 

2

)

 

y

0

+

y

0

δ

k

1

1

4

4

12

1

 

(2.32)

In eqn.(2.31), the first term represents the acoustic power absorbed/generated in the stack

while the second term accounts for the dissipation of acoustic power in the viscous layer

which is converted to heat (a loss).

2.4.4 Arbitrary Stack Geometry

A general formulation of thermoacoustics for stacks having arbitrarily shaped pore cross

section was given by Arnott et.al. [5]. Expressions for oscillatory temperature, pressure and

velocity were formulated for a stack with arbitrary shaped pores. Using these expressions, the

heat and work flows in geometries like parallel plate, circular pores, hexagonal pores,

equilateral triangular pores and rectangular pores were developed and compared. It was

concluded that the parallel plate stack gave optimum heat and work flows. The stack

geometries studied by Arnott et.al are shown in Figure 2.7

Parallel Plates Circular Pores
Parallel Plates
Circular Pores
are shown in Figure 2.7 Parallel Plates Circular Pores Rectangular Pores Equilateral Triangular Pores Figure 2.7

Rectangular Pores

Figure 2.7 Parallel Plates Circular Pores Rectangular Pores Equilateral Triangular Pores Figure 2.7 Various pore

Equilateral Triangular Pores

Figure 2.7 Various pore geometries studied by Arnott et.al.(Reproduced from [4])

A new stack geometry, ‘pin array’ was analyzed by Keolian et.al.[6]. Analytical expressions

for the oscillatory temperature and velocity for the pin array geometry were derived by using

Arnott’s general formulation. It was shown for given set of parameters, the performance of

pin array stack was better than other geometries. The unit cell of pin array geometry and the

Rott’s function for various geometries are shown in Figure 2.8 and Figure 2.9 respectively.

are shown in Figure 2.8 and Figure 2.9 respectively. Figure 2.8 The hexagonal unit cell of

Figure 2.8 The hexagonal unit cell of a pin array stack. (Reproduced from [5])

13

Figure 2.9 Real and imaginary parts of Rott’s functions for parallel plates, circular pores and

Figure 2.9 Real and imaginary parts of Rott’s functions for parallel plates, circular pores and pin array stack. (Reproduced from [5])

2.5 Thermoacoustic Refrigerators (TARs)

Swift’s review paper [1] led to development of many practical thermoacoustic refrigerators.

Some of important theoretical and experimental findings are described in this section.

2.5.1 Theoretical Models

A design algorithm for TAR was given by Herman et.al [7]. Various operating and design

parameters were indentified by the authors as shown in Table 2.1. To reduce the complexity

of theoretical expressions due to a large number of variables, normalization technique was

implemented.

Table 2.1 Operating, design parameters and material properties

Operating

 

Design Parameters

 

Material Properties

Parameters

Design requirements

Stack geometry

 

Working gas

Stack

p m

Mean

T c

Cold end

L

s

Stack length

µ

Dynamic

ρ

s

Density

Pressure

Temperature

Viscosity

f

Operating

T

h

Hot end

x s

Stack center

k

Thermal

k

s

Thermal

Frequency

Temperature

position

Conductivity

conductivity

p 1

Pressure

Q c Cooling Load

 

l

Half Plate

γ

Cp/Cv ratio

C

s

Specific Heat

Amplitude

Thickness

Capacity

T m

Mean

W

Input Acoustic

y 0

Half Plate

a

Sound Speed

Temperature

Power

spacing

 

A

Cross section

 

14

The simplified expressions for cooling power and acoustic power in terms of normalized parameters are respectively given by,

where

Q cn

W

n

= −

δ kn

D

2 sin(2

x

ns

)

(1

8

γ

+

σ

)

Λ

×   

T

mn

tan(

x

ns

) 1

+

σ
σ

+

σ

( γ

1) BL

sn

1 +

σ
σ
( γ − 1) BL sn 1 + σ

(1

+

σ
σ

=

δ

kn

L

sn

D

2

4 γ

(

γ

1)

B

cos

2

(

x

ns

)

×

 

T

mn

tan ( x

ns

)

BL

sn

(

γ

1)(1

+

σ )
σ
)

Λ

2 δ L D sin 2( n ) kn sn xs 4 γ B Λ
2
δ
L
D
sin 2(
n
)
kn
sn
xs
4 γ
B Λ
Λ =
1
σ δ
+
kn

0.5

2

σδ

kn

1

The design algorithm is as follows:

 

 σδ )  kn  
σδ
)
kn
 

(2.33)

(2.34)

(2.35)

Step 1: Choose the operating parameters such as mean pressure (with the constraint of material strength), mean temperature, frequency, and the pressure amplitude. The pressure amplitude should be low enough so as not to induce turbulence. This is ensured by keeping the acoustic Reynold’s number less than 500 [1]. The acoustic Reynold’s number is given by,

Re

a

=

u δ ρ

1

v

µ

(2.36)

Choose the working gas and stack material. From the calculated values of thermal penetration depth, find plate spacing of the stack. The optimized plate spacing is equal to twice the thermal penetration depth [1]. Assuming porosity, find plate thickness. Step 2: Define stack COP as COP=Q cn /W n . The stack COP becomes a function of only two variables viz. L sn and x sn . For different values of x ns , the values of COP are plotted with L sn and optimal COP in each case is found out. Step 3: Choose an optimum COP from the set and corresponding L sn and x sn . From the values of required cooling power Q and expression of normalized cooling power, calculate stack cross section area. Step 4: Calculate the resonator length so as to obtain a standing wave phasing between oscillatory pressure and velocity. The length-frequency relation is given by,

L

=

n

a

4 f

15

n = 1,3,5,

(2.37)

Step 5: Determine the lengths of cold and hot side heat exchangers using the values of displacement amplitudes and the cold and hot exchanger locations respectively. The optimal length equals twice the displacement amplitude [1]. The porosity of heat exchangers should

be equal to that of stack to prevent any discontinuity in gas flow passage.

Step 6: Apply 1 st Law to resonator-stack-HXs system and choose a suitable loudspeaker/acoustic driver which can pump in the required acoustic power.

A computational model of thermoacoustic refrigerators for performance prediction at steady

state was given by Jebali et.al. [8]. The components of refrigerator were represented in terms of acoustic network elements viz. compliance, inertance, viscous resistance, thermal

relaxation conductance and attenuation factors. The one dimensional cross section averaged equations were discretized using the network analogy. The frequency response of the model indicated maximum cooling power near the resonance frequency. A similar study was also made by Qiu et.al. [9]

Worlikar et.al [10,11] developed a low Mach number numerical model for simulating the flow inside the thermoacoustic refrigerator stack. The dependence of energy loses due to stack configurations and operating conditions was examined.

A simulation program DELTAEC (Design Environment for Low Amplitude Thermoacoustic

Energy Conversion) was developed by Ward and Swift [12]. Based on DELTAEC, a design

optimization program was developed by Paek et.al. [13]. It was shown that COPR of thermoacoustic refrigerators is maximum at about 80 K temperature lift.

An analytical model to study transient temperature profile inside thermoacoustic refrigerator stack was given by Lotton et.al [14]. The contribution of various heat transfer processes like thermoacoustic heat transport, longitudinal conduction, radial heat leakage, heating due to vorticity etc during the transient regime was studied. The analytical results were obtained by fitting in empirical heat transfer coefficients. It was verified that at steady state, the thermoacoustic heat flux is balanced by the returning longitudinal conduction.

A model describing the heat transfer between elements of thermoacoustic refrigerators- stack

and heat exchangers was given by Brewster et.al [15]. Forced heat convection due to acoustic

oscillations was identified as the main heat transfer mechanism. For low amplitudes of

16

oscillations, the magnitude of heat transfer coefficient was proportional to the local amplitude

of oscillatory velocity.

2.5.2 Experimental Work

The first fully functional thermoacoustic refrigerator was designed and built by Tom Hofler

[16,17]. The loudspeaker driven refrigerator employed Kapton as the material for stack and

Helium as the working gas. Lowest temperature ratio achieved by Hofler was 0.66 while the

optimum COP was 12 % of Carnot COP. The operating parameters and stack dimensions of

Hofler’s refrigerator are given in Table 2.2.

Table 2.2 Hofler’s operating parameters and stack dimensions

Operating parameters

Stack Dimensions

Mean Pressure Frequency Drive Ratio Mean Temperature Hot end temperature

10 bar

Plate Thickness Plate Spacing Length Cross Section Area Centre Location

0.08 mm 0.38 mm 0.08 m 0.0012 m 2 0.09 m

500 Hz

3 %

255 K

300 K

Based on the design algorithm given by Herman et.al., Tijani et.al. designed [18] and

constructed [19] a loudspeaker driven thermoacoustic refrigerator. The effect of blockage

ratio on performance of refrigerator was studied experimentally by varying the plate spacing

[20]. It was observed that maximum heat flux occurs when plate spacing was twice the

thermal penetration depth. By using binary mixtures of inert gases [21], the effect of Prandtl

number was studied. A 30-70 mixture of Xe-He with a Prandtl Number of 0.2 gave optimum

results. A technique to optimize the loudspeaker to drive a given refrigerator was given by the

authors [22]. The lowest temperature reported was -65 o C. The operating parameters and stack

dimensions are given below in Table 2.3.

Table 2.3 Tijani’s operating parameters and stack dimensions

Operating parameters

Stack Dimensions

Mean Pressure

10 bar

Plate Thickness

0.1 mm

Frequency

400 Hz

Plate Spacing

0.3 mm

Drive Ratio

2 %

Length

0.085 m

Mean Temperature

250 K

Cross Section Area

0.00118 m 2

Hot end temperature

283 K

Centre Location

0.08 m

17

Adeff et.al. [23] used reticulated vitreous carbon (RVC) as the stack material. The

performance of RVC stack was found comparable to plastic roll stack and the lowest

temperature ratio obtained was 0.82.

An experimental research to study the effect of operating parameters was carried out by

Nsofor et.al. [24]. The maximum cooling load was obtained at the resonance frequency. It

was also shown that an optimal mean pressure existed for maximal cooling load.

Scalability of thermoacoustic refrigerators was studied analytically and experimentally by Li

et.al. [25]. It was found that scaling down of thermoacoustic refrigerators was limited by heat

conduction.

A flow through thermoacoustic refrigerator was developed by Reid et.al. [26]. A steady mass

flow was inlet to refrigerator at one of the pressure nodes and was outlet from another. A

20 % increase in COP was observed as compared to closed refrigerators.

Besides these, several other refrigerators were developed by various research groups. Details

of some notable refrigerators are given in Table 2.4.

Table 2.4 Performance of thermoacoustic refrigerators

Name

T ( o C)

T c ( o C)

Q c (W)

COPR

Prototype at Purdue University [13] Frankenfridge [27] Triton [13] Ben & Jerry cooler [13]

8.9

15.6

40

0.033

10.8

17.2

26

0.067

18

10.4

2161

0.04

58.5

-24.6

119

0.22

2.6 Summary

It can be summarized from the literature that the theory of standing wave thermoacoustics is

well established. Several theoretical models as well as simulation softwares to forecast the

performance of a TAR at steady state are also available. However, there are only a few

notable instances [3,13,16,27] where a fully functional standing wave TAR is designed,

constructed and experimentally investigated. Similarly, there is only one instance available

[14], where the transient state temperature profiles inside the stack of a TAR are reported.

18

In view of this, it is decided to design and develop a standing wave thermoacoustic refrigerator capable of cooling to temperatures near 250 K. Due to time limited design data on acoustic drivers, a commercially available electro-dynamic motor will be used. All other components of the refrigerator would be designed to adapt to the available motor. The effect of operating parameters on TAR performance at steady as well as transient state would be investigated theoretically and experimentally.

19

Chapter 3

THEORETICAL ANALYSIS OF A STANDING WAVE TAR

3.1 Introduction

A standing wave TAR can be divided into two major sub-systems – the heat pumping

assembly and the driver assembly. The heat pumping system consists of the stack, the two heat exchangers and the resonator. The driver assembly consists of a magnet-voice coil based electro-dynamic motor and a pusher cone suitably constructed for thermoacoustic refrigeration.

This chapter is divided into three parts. The first part describes a theoretical model of a loudspeaker driven straight gas column. This can be thought of a TAR assembly void of the stack and the heat exchangers. The resonance frequency and dynamic pressure generated in the gas column can be predicted using this analysis. Due to observed non-linear effects in straight resonators, it is concluded that a resonator with non-uniform cross section be used. The second part of this chapter describes the design of this new resonator using an available software, DeltaEC. Finally, in the third part, an iterative method is developed to predict the thermodynamic performance of a TAR configuration.

3.2 Loudspeaker Driven Gas Columns

In order to predict the thermodynamic performance of a TAR, it is first essential to determine

the dynamic pressure that the available acoustic driver can generate. Other than the driver

parameters which are introduced in following sub-section, the dynamic pressure depends on the charging pressure, the working gas and the operating frequency of the system. The

theoretical prediction of the dynamic pressure is done using the impedance transfer technique. This technique enables one to calculate the effective acoustic impedance of the load at the driver piston, and its resonance frequency. The electrical network model of a moving coil loudspeaker is coupled with this acoustic impedance model so that the dynamic pressure can

be directly computed as a function of input electrical voltage to the system.

20

3.2.1 The Impedance Transfer Technique

Consider a straight hollow channel of length ‘L’ and uniform cross section area ‘A’, filled with a gas at pressure ‘p m ’ and temperature ‘T m ’. The speed of sound in the gas is ‘a’. A source of acoustic wave (acoustic driver) is attached to one end of the channel at x=0. When an acoustic wave with an angular frequency ‘ω’ propagates through this channel, the acoustic impedance at any location ‘x’ in the channel is given by:

Z

ac

(

x

)

=

p

1

(

x

)

Au

1

(

x

)

(3.1)

where, p 1 (x) and u 1 (x) are the oscillatory pressure and velocity at location ‘x’. The transfer function giving the acoustic impedance at location ‘x’ in terms of acoustic impedance at any other location ‘x`’ is given by [3] :

where,

Z

ac

(

x

) =

Z

ac

(

x

') cos

k

(

x

'

x

)

+

jZ

c

sin

k

(

x

'

x

)

j

Z

ac

(

x

')

sin

k

(

x

'

x

)

+

cos

k

(

x

'

)

 
   

x

   

Z

c

 
 

Z

c

=

ρ ω

m

 

Ak

(1

f

v

)

 
 

(3.2)

(3.3)

Here, ‘k’ is the wave number and ‘f v ’ is the complex Rott’s viscosity function [1] denoting the loss of acoustic power at the walls of the channel. A rigidly sealed end at x=L would result in a location of infinite acoustic impedance. In this case, the acoustic impedance at the driver piston would be:

Z

ac

= −

j

ρ ω

m

Ak

(1

f

v

)

cot

kL

(3.4)

This complex acoustic load resonates when its imaginary part is zero. The relation between the channel length, the frequency and the sound speed for fundamental resonance mode is:

L =

π

a

ω

(3.5)

As can be seen from eqn(3.4), the acoustic impedance of a given geometry depends on the density of the working medium. Thus, it can be varied by changing the mean pressure, mean temperature or the medium itself. However in practice, it is not feasible to vary the mean temperature of the working medium.

21

3.2.2 Electrical Network Model of a Moving Coil Loudspeaker

A simple moving coil loudspeaker consists of an electrical conductor coil suspended in a

radial magnetic field. When excited by an alternating current, the coil reciprocates

perpendicular to the plane containing the magnetic field and current, producing a Lorentz’s

force. A diaphragm or a piston attached to the reciprocating coil causes periodic compressions

and rarefactions in the surrounding medium, thereby producing an acoustic wave. A

representation of moving coil loudspeaker in the electrical network form is shown in

Figure 3.1 below:

in the electrical network form is shown in Figure 3.1 below: Figure 3.1 Electrical circuit representation

Figure 3.1 Electrical circuit representation of a loudspeaker with an acoustic load.

Traversing from right to left in Figure 3.1, the first element is the acoustic impedance of the

load at the driver piston. The centre block represents the mechanical part consisting of the

moving mass M m , stiffness K m and mechanical resistance R m of the loudspeaker. The leftmost

block is the electrical part, comprising of the electrical resistance R e and inductance L e of the

coil. The transduction coefficient ‘Bl’ converts the electrical energy to mechanical energy,

while the piston surface area ‘S’ converts mechanical energy into acoustic energy. The

electro-acoustic efficiency of a loudspeaker can be maximized by making the mechanical part

and the acoustic part resonate at a same driving frequency [28]. The total electrical impedance

of the loudspeaker-acoustic load circuit between the two terminals of ac power source is given

by:

Z

e

=

R

e

+

j

L

ω

e

+

 

(

Bl

)

2

R

m

+